Watched Captain Marvel over the weekend. It was a cute, by the numbers, super hero film. Don’t get me wrong, I want to see women’s roles in films to increase. Especially smart roles. Like, I don’t know, the show Halt and Catch Fire, which I’m deeply intertwined with currently. But, Captain Marvel is a relabeled standard origin story super hero film. And with a 152 million dollar budget (which I’m guessing they made back in a day or two) it is a massive amount of spend for a rehashed idea.
I had fun with Captain Marvel, I promise. I found it funny, and intriguing. And even a little head-trippy. So stop emailing me and swearing at me. GAH! But there just wasn’t anything new there really. Not enough to pay for that 150 million dollar budget anyway. But! If instead of a super hero regurgitated script, and rather, we took the idea of a software company that is able to implant individuals in other’s subconscious minds? And then what would happen if the founder of the company got trapped there for good, accidentally? And what if, instead, we give that film a $100,000 budget? Now that, is a movie that might turn my head. Which, if you weren’t paying attention, is exactly what the movie Extracted is all about.
Extracted Deep Dive Explanation Walkthrough
If you have not seen this movie yet, literally the rest of this post from here on out will be one big spoiler slick. Please do not continue on without having watched the movie first. OK? Which, you can rent from iTunes, right here. Or Vudu (what the heck is a Vudu?) right here. I may have even seen a copy out on YouTube, but I wouldn’t know much about that. Alright, let the spoilers commence…
The movie kicks off with Tom…an ultra intelligent scientist/technologist who has crafted a machine capable of inserting one person, into another person’s subconscious. Only problem is that he is desperate for funding. (Greed, a truly troubling fatal flaw for our dear Mr. Tom.) And so, Tom accepts funding from an anonymous Angel Investor. But when our anonymous greed driver threatens to pull out unless a test run happens with another human within the month, Tom capitulates and does the test. But, before the test happens, Tom learns that the investor is with the Department of Corrections – and they are wanting to utilize the technology to garner confessions over the accused’s objections. Tom continues forward with the test in spite of his objections, and ultimately gets stuck in the mind of Anthony.
Now Anthony, who volunteered for this test in order to prove his innocence in the killing of a girlfriend, was quickly proven guilty by Tom by just a casual watch of the subject’s memories. But when the test is up, and Anthony’s guilt is assessed, Tom attempts to return to his body, but is unable to. And just like that, the years pass while Tom just sits and watches Anthony’s memories parade past him, one after the other. All the while, Tom’s body remains locked in a coma without its conscious ready to drive it where it needs to go.
Tom’s Interminable Sentence
And with that, Anthony, returned to jail, with a free interloper hanging out in his mind. Obviously he continues to insist that he didn’t kill the woman. But we all know he did, because, DUH, he’s in prison. So OBVIOUSLY he did it! Well, when Anthony’s father gives him a box of photos, there is one in particular that causes Anthony to remember an important memory. And generally, when Tom watches a memory, it’s like he’s watching a videotape. But this time, Anthony, who inhabits the same memory where Tom is standing, is able to see Tom. And Tom realizes that when they both join the same memory they are able to talk to each other. When they finally make contact, Tom asks Anthony for his help. Eventually, Anthony is able to coordinate another experiment through Tom’s wife, Abbey, and the Department of Corrections. But! In order to do the experiment Abbey had to agree to give the tech over to make it all happen. Even worse, Anthony says that he wants Tom’s help one more time to prove his innocence before he will let them attempt to pull Tom out of his mind.
Up until this point, most of the memories for that night, come from Anthony’s father…”You called me out of your mind, you don’t remember that night, but I do.” But after Tom and Anthony team up they begin to learn that Anthony was attacked by a former accomplice through a process of “Memory Refinement Feedback Looping” or MRFL. (Which I totally just made up on the spot right here. My artistic license aside…the two guys are pretty stoked with how they had just worked together to uncover a memory that was originally less than 25% formed. Well, after this discovery, Anthony escapes from the building where they were going to do the procedure in order to talk to his old friend, the one that attacked him in the memory. And that is when his friend reveals that he and Adrienne (his girlfriend) had been sleeping together in order to get drugs. The two men, both sure that the other killed Adrienne, attack each other. Anthony is mortally wounded, and he drives over to Abbey and Tom’s body. Anthony agrees to help free Tom, which they do just before Anthony dies from his wounds. PHEW! I mean, what would have happened to Tom’s consciousness (heck, his soul) if Anthony had died with Tom still firmly lodged in his brain?
With Tom finally extricated from Anthony’s brain, and Anthony dead, the movie is basically over – no? Well, actually not. Because now that Tom is freed from his cell, he is still getting tons of intertwined memories of Anthony’s pouring out of his brain now. And these memories drive Tom to push for the actual truth of what happened that night. Which was that Adrienne committed suicide, it wasn’t Anthony that killed her. But if that’s the case, why did Anthony go to prison for her murder? Well, that’s because Anthony’s really helpful father, tired of all of Anthony’s crap, decided to frame his son for the murder of his girlfriend, as the world’s most invasive drug therapy treatment center.
And as the movie ends, Tom sees that the Department of Corrections, who now owns Tom’s consciousness teleportation device, is moving forward with their plan to continue testing their “experimental project.”
Thoughts On the Movie Extracted
Extracted was a clever movie. I did a little bit of reading, and it sounds like Nir Paniry, and Gabriel Cowan, were hoping to take a page out of Shane Carruth’s Primer playbook. Which is never a bad place to start, in my opinion. $7,000 budget, one man sci-fi genius crafts one of the greatest mindjobs of all time? No, I will not complain for tearing a page out of that particular playbook.
And overall, the movie delivered. It’s clever premise, and its interesting Gordian knot of a plot, all work towards something pretty intriguing. But it lost its steam coming into the final 20 minutes of the movie. If only the screenplay had been able to carry the momentum just a little bit further it could have been a really great movie. If they had kept Anthony alive for the payout, it probably wouldn’t have felt like a bolt on memorial of an ending. But even so, it was a decent thriller, with a clever inside out premise that is begging for about $5 million more dollars to be made correctly. But at $100,000, I’m going to say that they did just fine. I enjoyed it anyway.
Edited by, CY
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